Tony badgered them for information on the walk to the common room while Thor called Steve and asked him to have the other Avengers present for a brief meeting and Maia realised this wasn’t going to be some small reveal if the entire team would be there. She tapped her teeth with the thumbnail on the hand Loki wasn’t holding nervously and after a few minutes he realised and squeezed her hand reassuringly while deflecting another question from Stark, telling him, yet again, he would have to wait and see.
The common room was busy, as they had expected, all of the onsite Avengers present and sitting on various chairs and couches waiting and chatting, but it was Darcy who saw them enter and jumped to her feet.
‘You’re going to tell everyone, right? Because Jane swore me to secrecy.’ She gesticulated with her hands. ‘Do you have any idea how hard that is?’
Loki laughed while Maia covered her smile with her hand.
‘Darcy, sit down.’ Jane pulled on her sleeve and the younger woman did as she was told.
‘Yes, Darcy.’ Loki answered her question. ‘We are.’
‘Oh, thank God.’ She sighed.
Tony leant against the counter nearest them, giving a serious look. ‘You know, my imagination is running riot here, so spill it.’
Maia looked up at Loki. ‘I don’t even know where to start.’
‘It is complicated.’ Loki agreed.
‘They’re getting married!’ Darcy blurted.
That got everyone’s attention. About eight different voices asked; ‘What?!’ as Darcy clamped her hands over her mouth, Jane shook her head, and Tony stepped forward, pulling Maia out of Loki’s grip and across the room as he spoke.
‘What the hell? Has he got you under some kind of mind control? Tricks?’
‘No, none of that.’ She made him stop. ‘It’s a hell of a lot more complicated.’
‘No, it’s not. Something’s off about this and I’m taking you home, now. This was a bad idea.’ He waved his finger in her face until she leant back.
‘Friend Stark.’ Thor called, his hand on Loki’s shoulder, preventing him from going after Maia. ‘Let them explain fully, then you may ask informed questions rather than spewing accusations.’
‘I don’t like this either.’ Steve said as he stood. ‘But we owe them the chance to explain.’
‘There’s no explanation good enough to excuse this.’
‘Try us.’ Maia suggested.
‘Charles will flip!’
‘Charles knows.’ She insisted.
‘I thought you had more sense than this.’
‘I do!’ She glared at him and his stubbornness at refusing to even listen. ‘This is new for us, but Thor knew first.’ She looked back at her former, and probably future, brother-in-law. ‘Loki and I were married before. In a former life I was Sigyn of Asgard, Loki was my husband, and I died in an ambush. Neither of us realised, we think because we had to fall for each other again first, but Thor will back us up. If you don’t trust us, trust him, because that’s who I was and who I am. I’m not running down the aisle with Loki, but we will, eventually, because we’ve been given a second chance and that rarely happens. We’d be stupid not to take it.’
No one spoke, Tony just stared at Maia as though he didn’t know what to think, and it was Steve who eventually broke the silence. ‘Thor?’
‘She speaks the truth. I have known her identity since I first saw her, before she even knew, and I for one back them, as there are few loves truer than that of the God of Mischief and the Goddess of Fidelity.’
‘Goddess of Fidelity?’ Darcy gasped excitedly but Maia shrugged.
‘Just a title.’
‘No truer a title was ever given, besides my brother’s of course. You were the most devoted wife ever to grace our halls.’
‘To be fair he’s easy to be devoted to.’ She smiled at Loki whose smug face said it all, but Tony still wasn’t accepting it.
‘Seriously?’ He said so suddenly it made Maia jump and Loki was across the room before Thor could stop him from pulling away. ‘I understood when I thought the two of you were hot for one another, but you’ve already been married? How does that even work?’
Loki drew Maia to him and away from Stark, but slowly so as not to cause alarm. ‘We were as astonished as you, Anthony, but soon came to terms with just how rare a thing this is, how truly lucky we are. We see no point in hiding the fact.’ He sensed power and tensed for a moment, turning towards the window as the bifrost activated, and he relaxed again. ‘And as this is the first opportunity we have had to tell you all I do not think you can say we have been anything but transparent.’
‘Are you expecting someone?’ Steve asked Thor as he went to the stairs.
‘Possibly.’ Thor nodded.
Steve remained alert but was aware that Tony needed reining in a little, that he wasn’t taking this well. He walked towards the three of them, speaking as he did. ‘Well, I think it’s great news. Congratulations.’
‘Thank you, Steven.’ Loki bowed his head in gratitude as the rest of the team began to offer their own well wishes.
Thor reached the door as the bifrost disappeared, seeing Sif turning on the scorched grass to face him.
‘Sif, what news?’ He greeted her as she came to meet him.
‘Very little.’ She said solemnly. ‘We have traced the location the drake was transported through, however we are no closer to knowing who opened the portal for it.’
‘But it was a who?’ Thor asked as she reached him.
‘High sorcery.’ She nodded. ‘With the loss of your mother, Loki is perhaps the most powerful sorcerer of our realm. We are quite certain the cuff leaves him incapable of something like this?’
‘Quite.’ Thor nodded. ‘Thank you for this information.’
‘What little good it will do.’ She said frustratedly. ‘I have further avenues yet to explore. Hopefully they will prove more fruitful.’
‘Thank you.’ Thor bowed his head to her. ‘Before you leave, I have a surprise for you.’
‘A surprise?’ She frowned. ‘Should I worry?’
‘Not at all.’ He smiled and led her inside.
‘Should I guess?’
‘You will need none, once we reach the top of the stairs.’ Sif and Sigyn had been good friends and he couldn’t wait to see them reunited.
Tony was still standing silently as everyone asked questions, frowning heavily. Was this even possible? Sure, he’d heard of weirder things, most of which were standing in front of him, but…maybe he was overthinking it. He was happy for them, but this seemed kind of fast, even given the circumstances. If only there were more than just the three of them to vouch for the story.
Sif and Thor came up the stairs to be greeted by excited chatter and Sif glanced around, finding Loki easily in the group, then seeing Darcy and Jane, the latter hugging an equally petite redhead, but when they parted she stopped in her tracks, not believing what she was seeing.
‘Surprise.’ Thor said in her ear.
Maia turned at the sound of her name, her eyes locking onto her old friend, a smile spreading across her face. ‘Sif?’ She whispered. She stepped out of Loki’s arms and past the group as Sif started towards her.
‘How can this be?’ She asked, taking Maia in an embrace.
‘Rebirth, my old friend.’ Maia grinned as they parted.
‘You have…shrunk.’ Sif said the first thing that came to mind and Maia laughed.
‘I just didn’t grow quite as much.’ Sif was the first person to comment on the fact she was at least half a foot shorter.
‘It really is you?’ Sif looked her over as though expecting her to change somehow.
‘It really is.’
‘Odin’s beard, this is…incredible!’ She suddenly exclaimed before turning to Thor. ‘You knew my favourite battle sister had returned and you did not tell me?’
‘We have only known days ourselves.’
‘You’ve known for days.’ Loki pointed out. ‘Maia and I have not even known for one.’
‘Maia?’ Sif looked down at the woman whose arms she still held. ‘That is your new name?’
Maia nodded. ‘Maia Tomson. Literature teacher, counsellor and Loki’s guide in all things Midgardian.’
‘Other than the Midgardian part I see very little has changed.’ Sif gave Loki a teasing look. ‘You were always setting him right, one way or another.’
‘That is a little unfair.’ Loki argued. ‘Sigyn got into ample trouble without me.’
Steve sidled up to Tony as conversation resumed amongst the group, folding his arms but not looking at him. ‘Sounds plausible.’
‘Convenient.’ Tony stroked his beard thoughtfully.
‘You think it’s a lie? Some sort of ruse?’
‘I don’t know what to think.’
‘I thought you were their biggest supporter?’
‘I was, I am. She’s good for him, I think, but didn’t this spiral kinda fast?’
‘Sometimes you just know.’ Steve shrugged.
‘Yeah, and other times you have a trickster god and a girl convinced she’s his dead wife.’
‘There’s a lot we don’t understand, Tony.’
‘No, Cap, there’s a lot you don’t understand. I’m a scientist. It’s my job to figure stuff out.’
Steven looked at him doubtfully. ‘Science versus love?’
‘It’s all biology.’
‘Funny.’ Tony gave him wholly unamused look.
‘It’s sweet you’re protective of her, but I think she knows what she’s doing.’
Tony looked at Maia laughing with the team, Sif looking at her with some degree of disbelief, while Loki looked at her lovingly. ‘If this goes wrong, it’ll be my fault.’ Tony admitted.
‘It won’t be your fault.’
‘It will,’ he turned to Steve, ‘because it was my idea to bring her in.’